Letters to the Editor
March 4, 2020

To the Editor:
One concerning issue coming our way is the coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China. World travel being what it is, protection against pandemics requires transparency, long-term and short-term preparations, and the funding to support them. The coronavirus sheds light on the administration’s lack of understanding and preventable failures in meeting this and future health threats.
COVID-19 is still considered a fairly low risk to Americans, but U.S. health officials have been warning for over a month that a pandemic was a significant threat, with very little response from our government. Now, when the threat appears to be gaining steam worldwide, our president rants that Democrats are weaponizing the threat to hurt the stock market and make him look bad. Don Jr. declared that Democrats are hoping the virus kills millions of Americans to end his father's "winning streak." How small, self-centered, and miserable do people have to be to make such hateful statements? But, it is a chance to once again play victim.
VP Mike Pence is the new coronavirus czar though he has no medical background and barely believes in science. He managed to expedite the spread of HIV as governor of Indiana by banning needle exchange (go ahead and inject with your infected friend's needle). The president, when the threat became apparent this last week, did try to fund anti-virus efforts by offering up 37 million dollars designated to help poor people obtain winter heating oil as funding against the contagion. What a guy.
When the Obamacare (ACA) was passed in 2010, it established and financed the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), but Republicans have worked to undermine that law (and all things Obama). When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law in 2018, it cut $750 million from the PPHF. The significant reduction in funding to the PPHF has been accompanied by cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and staffing has been slashed. In 2018, the Trump administration further diverted millions of dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Trump administration’s budget for 2020 proposes additional drastic cuts to public health and the CDC. Mercifully, those proposals are unlikely “wins” for the administration in either the House or Senate, certainly now. But we are already unprepared because of the lack of funding in the prior three years.
Trump, as always, wants to gut the U.S. contribution to international organizations, specifically the World Health Organization (WHO), whining as he always does that other countries are not paying their fair share. Trump again fails to see that disease (like failed alliances for national security with NATO) puts everyone at risk in a world that grows smaller every day. Disease knows no national borders and this virus is not the last threat we will see.
Just as he does in taking his Sharpie to facts and programs and maps he doesn't like, Trump believes that saving his own presidential hide is the true bottom line. In fact, it is the health and welfare of the nation. He gambled that the health funding wouldn't be needed, and he lost.
Kelly Scoles
Fillmore, Ca

 


 
Letters to the Editor
February 26, 2020

To the Editor:
Ms. McLeod’s assertion that I hate the president is incorrect. I save my hate for adults in authority who shield abusers, particularly of children. These would include abusing and abuse-tolerant clergy and of offenders in the Boy Scouts of America. It is correct, however, that while I respect the office, I do not respect many of the actions, statements, unconstitutional acts and uncivilized norms of this president.
This is a man with incredibly errant morals, in words and actions. He mocks others, including persons with disabilities, a prisoner-of-war American hero, and even gold-star families. He pays off porn stars. He makes a big show of giving money to vets, and then doesn’t do it. He gives every indication that he, at the very least, is tolerant of racism. He cages children, some of whom will never see their parents again. This man charges the government top dollar (yours) to house his security forces at his own establishments, though he claims he gives them a special rate (Google it to expose that lie). He frequently praises dictators and insults our allies in our name. He removes anyone from his cabinet and circle who does not completely agree with him, because to disagree with him is, in his own words, a traitorous act, and “un-American.”
Trump is a man who famously lies constantly. It’s as if he’s testing to see just how far afield he can go before his crowd turns on him in disbelief. So far, he can lie at will, and claim that anyone who challenges his many untruths or misconduct is perpetrating a “hoax” or a “fake news” story, or a treasonous attack on, not just him, but the country itself. If your child never took responsibility for his acts but always blamed others, constantly congratulated him or herself for real or imagined achievements, made fun of and bullied others, cast aspersions upon anyone who questioned him, and lied repeatedly, I believe you would obtain medical advice or treatment for that child as soon as possible.
Even more concerning is his view of the presidency and the balance of power. Ask yourself this: if and when a Democrat becomes president again, will you still insist that when he/she exercises “unlimited power over government," he/she can do “whatever I want?” No checks and balances, no calling out the president for overreach. That would mean, in retrospect, every single thing that Obama did was absolutely within his unlimited powers.
No, I don’t hate Trump. I wonder how someone who is essentially a showbiz personality has convinced so many of my countrymen to ignore this man behind the curtain and find a person worthy to lead our great country. I don’t hate Trump, I fear him and I fear for the future of our republic.
Kelly Scoles
Fillmore, CA

 


 
Letters to the Editor
February 19, 2020

To the Editor:
I live in Fillmore and care deeply about the city. I am very concerned about the upcoming election for Board of Supervisors. While many know us for our festivals and being the safest city in Ventura County, fewer know that we have a single and quite dependable water source, our large and constantly refilling aquifer. That aquifer, the ONLY water source for Fillmore, is potentially in danger. An oil shaft has been drilled illegally within a mile of the aquifer and that shaft runs through the underground stream that feeds the aquifer. That well is currently under review with the EPA but with the recent opening of millions of acres of public land opened to drilling and mining we fear for our clean water.
Kim Stephenson is running for Board of Supervisors. Ms. Stephenson has received no donations from the oil industry. She is accepting small donations only. Ms. Stephenson has spoken with hundreds of Santa Clara Valley residents and knows what issues we face. She will fight to represent us in all areas and will protect our water and natural resources.
Unfortunately, Kelly Long has received unprecedented large donations and support from the oil industry in her last election and even more this election period. I do not trust that Kelly Long will vote in favor of our clean water source and against the oil industry as she is now indebted to them for their HUGE contribution to her campaign. For that reason and many others reasons I urge you to research the funding and voting record and platforms of the candidates and realize that KIM STEPHENSON is the person to elect for District 3, Ventura County.
Lynn R. Edmonds
Fillmore, Ca
***
To the Editor & Community of Fillmore:
THAT A HEART IS NOT JUDGED BY HOW MUCH YOU LOVE, BUT BY HOW MUCH YOU ARE LOVED BY OTHERS- THE WIZARD OF OZ
And that was so evident for those who attended the Celebration-of-Life on January 25th, 2020 for Angel Carrera Jr. who passed away on August 14th, 2019 at the age of 67, in Sacramento, California.
On behalf of the Memorial Committee of: sister Ana Maria and husband Tony Vega, sister Olivia Carrera Lopez, classmates Tony and Sandra Gaitan, Joe Ramirez, friends
Rick and Juanita Ferrer, Comadre Debbie Sanchez, Godson Gabriel “Pokey” Sanchez
III, Mathew Sanchez, Compadre Roberto Juarez, Goddaughter Jaclyn Morales, and
Compadre Jack Morales, we express our sincere gratitude and thank you’s to all who attended and supported us on that eventful day at the Fillmore Veteran’s Memorial Building.
The welcoming of Angel’s family- Mrs. Marta Carrera, sons Angel Carrera III and
Andrew Carrera, brother Joe Pedroza and family, sister Ana Maria Vega and family, and sister Olivia Carrera Lopez and family were recognized.
Classmate, Deacon Manuel Martinez blessed the celebration. A delicious lunch was provided and served by taquero Fernando Cervantes to more than 250 people. A collage of pictures was shown, and music was played by DJ Matthew Sanchez.
The reading of the obituary was read by Angel’s son, Andrew Carrera and followed with remarks and memories by speakers, Mr. Jim Fauver, Compadre Roberto Juarez,
Willie Rivera, Brother Joe Pedroza, Tony Gaitan, Joe Ramirez, Eddie Reyes on behalf of Rudy Reyes, Norbert Riesgo, and classmate Vernon Kenfield. Mr. Bruce Dempsey was also in attendance.
A reading of a prayer/poem was read and highlighted by Goddaughter Jaclyn Morales.
A Proclamation of Adjournment meeting for Angel Carrera from the Ventura County
Board of Supervisors was presented to Mrs. Marta Carrera and sons from Fillmore Councilman Manuel Minjares and Field Representative for Supervisor Kelly Long.
A Proclamation of Recognition for Veterans was presented to Angel’s brother Joe
Pedroza, from sister Olivia Carrera Lopez on behalf of Angel’s government service and work with Veteran’s statewide. About 20 local veterans who knew Angel were in attendance, honored and saluted Angel on his dedicated achievements to Veterans.
A song titled, Humble and Kind from Tim McGraw was played. Angel Carrera III spoke of his father on what the song meant to him.
At least 25 members of the Fillmore Class of 71 were present to honor, support, and celebrate the eventful occasion. Mr. Kenny “Sunny” Sundstrum, extended his talents and versatility in singing and playing two songs in honor of his classmate, Angel.
A closing blessing of the celebration was given by Deacon Manuel Martinez with continued socializing, music and many desserts to conclude the occasion.
Two Fillmore Organizations, The Fillmore Alumni Association and The Fillmore
Veteran’s Memorial Building will benefit from monetary contributions in the amount of $1300.00 each that was sent by family, friends, and classmates on behalf of Angel Carrera Jr.
In conclusion, we the committee express our sincere gratitude and many thanks for the support we received for Angel’s Celebration-of-Life and ask God for his many blessings to each of you who attended and made financial contributions.
With much sincerity and gratitude, The Memorial Committee of Angel Carrera Jr.
***
To the Editor:
Kelly Scoles, in her hate for anything Trump, stated last week that "Betsy DeVos (Trump's Head of Education) is destroying the backbone of our nation: the public school system." Well let's look to a few historical facts and when our educational system started to fail and what could be the cause.
American public education is in poor shape today because of cultural and social trends, most beginning in the 1960s, which destroyed classroom discipline, the moral basis for education, and a national consensus on what students should learn (1969 Tinker v. Des Moines, a landmark Supreme Court Ruling had a huge impact) but does that explain why American students do not possess the communication and computational skills they need today to succeed in college or in the working world? Let's look back.
An article published 27 years ago (DeVos wasn't in charge) in Foundation for Economic Education, Feb 1, 1993 writes; "When government policy continues to impose rigid personnel rules, bureaucracy, regulations, and a mandate to use education to engineer social or political outcomes, a school cannot successfully impart the needed skills, knowledge, and perspective to its students—whether these students choose to be there or not.....'Do-gooders' throughout the twentieth century have sought to expand the role of public education in all aspects of what was once family life, such as instilling moral values, providing health and nutrition, fighting delinquency and crime, and protecting children from physical and psychological abuse. Today, they are the primary advocates of Head Start and other supplements to school that intervene in virtually every aspect of a student’s life."
The article goes on to state statisics of past changes; "From 1955 to 1991, the average pupil-teacher ratio in U.S. public schools dropped by 40 percent." So years ago class size was addressed.
What about spending? "Annual expenditures per pupil in U.S. public schools exploded by about 350 percent in real dollars from 1950 ($1,189) to 1991 ($5,237). In only two years during this 40-year period did spending fall: 1980 and 1981. Spending grew by about a third in real terms from 1981 to 1991"
Today California spends $104.4 Billion each year (50.4% of the General Fund) which is $11,993 per student per school year and even more on ESL/ELL students. So our problems aren't added funding, but supporters of overturning Prop. 13 sure want you to think we need to tax more and throw more money at it.
Failures 32 years ago showed, "Just five percent of 17-year-old high school students in 1988 could read well enough to understand and use information found in technical materials, literary essays, historical documents, and college-level texts. This percentage has been falling since 1971......Average Scholastic Aptitude Test scores fell 41 points between 1972 and 1991. Apologists for public education argue that such factors as the percentage of minority students taking the SAT can explain this drop. Not true. Scores for whites have dropped." So it wasn't skin color!!! But what this 27 year old artical states as a possible cause in failure is ".....the rise in recent decades is the use of America’s public schools for the purpose of engineering some social outcome deemed desirable by political leaders. This is an unavoidable, and perhaps insurmountable, failing of government-run education."
Betsy DeVos had nothing to do with our past education failures that continue today. But according to Kathy Scoles she will destroy it. When hating Trump is everything, why stick to facts and just throw anything at the public and use the kids as victims.
Jean Mcleod
Fillmore, Ca

 


 
Letters to the Editor
February 12, 2020

To the Editor:
Unlike our esteemed editor, I found the State of the Union presentation to be in the same carousel approach our president takes to everything: gaudy, self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, theatrical, dishonest, and emotionally needy. There are people who like that sort of thing as opposed to substance.
For those of you who think that Trump really is trying to protect medical preexisting conditions as he repeats endlessly and touted in the SOTU, you need to know that his administration is in the courts as we speak attempting to invalidate those and other health care provisions. He is working diligently to reduce Medicare. He is increasing the tensions in the Middle East by his haphazard foreign policy which mightily protects autocrats. Betsy DeVos is destroying the backbone of our nation: the public school system. He hasn’t done anything to improve infrastructure as he promised, he hasn’t built a wall paid for by the country of Mexico. He hasn’t brought the country together; on the contrary. He hasn’t saved coal (thank heavens) and he has not helped the middle class. What he has done is replace every safeguard against constraining unbridled executive power by appointing Barr as attorney general and filling his cabinet with people who are too afraid to disagree with him, or too ambitious to give a darn. Oh, yes. One good thing: he has ridden Obama’s coattails to a decent economy.
Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats had no choice but to impeach, though they knew the Republicans would give the president a pass (the exception, below). They had a virtual cafeteria-selection of offenses, but they selected the worst: inviting foreign countries into our election system. Trump feels, and has always felt, perfectly at ease with that. You can Google it.
Some Democratic Senators were profiles in courage in the final count to acquit or remove: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Doug Jones of Alabama who has a tough race ahead of him. Republican Mitt Romney of Utah carefully explained his crisis of conscience in voting “guilty” on one Articles of Impeachment and was excoriated by Trump and his minions. Meanwhile, the pitiable Susan Collins of Maine mealy-mouthed her hopes that Trump would “learn his lesson.” It was one of the rare moments of humor in the whole process, a single beam in a senate which has declared that, if the president thinks his reelection is in the best interests of the country, whatever means he uses to assure it is permissible.
Now, for the revenge-taking. Trump is famous for it. He has already started with both Vindman brothers. There are many more to come. The question is, will you reward at the polls this newly-empowered, deeply-flawed, lawless and tragic figure?. Somewhere, Shakespeare is taking up his pen.
Kelly Scoles
Fillmore, CA

***

To the Editor:
The 37th Assembly District race is under the radar. Voters need to look closely at the candidates. That’s why I recommend that voters choose Jason Dominguez. He is a former high school teacher and labor organizer, has a law degree from Berkeley School of Law, a master’s degree in environmental law, a former United Nations Legal Officer at the Hague who prosecuted those who committed war criminals and genocide. He’s also served as a Santa Barbara Deputy County Counsel, as a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney, Deputy City Attorney and Council Member.
As a City Council Member in Santa Barbara Jason spearheaded private-public partnerships to increase affordable housing, helped return a $4,000,000 budget surplus, fought for green-energy solutions and to create local jobs and wants to address homeless at the root cause by "investing in mental health infrastructure." In addition to his City Council work, Jason teaches International Law at The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law, and is the CEO & Founder of a non-profit that provides legal assistance to low-income families and youth leadership training.
Other Assembly District candidates don’t have Jason’s skill-set, experience or determination. They include a young left-wing progressive and college organizer, a drama major with deep pocketed special interests and ties to pot farmers and dispensaries, a non-profit executive focused on sexual violence, a former track coach, a former teacher and current Board of Supervisor, and a 22 year old whose answers to pressing issues do not appear to “have any factual basis.”
visit: VoteJasonDominguez.com
Anna Marie Gott,
Santa Barbara

 


 
Letters to the Editor
February 5, 2019

To the Editor:
I recently read that Supervisor Kelly Long voted several times to extend a temporary oil drilling ban near Camarillo to allow for further study on potential impacts to local water quality. She also pressured the County of Ventura to take further measures to identify the source of well contamination. Her diligence on this issue is appreciated by her constituents and she has my support in her campaign for re-election on March 3.
Krista Nowak of Camarillo

 


 
Letters to the Editor
January 29, 2020

To the Editor:
On behalf of the Davis family we appreciate all who came to show support in the celebration of life of Adrian Paul Davis, Jr. It is during difficult times like these we struggle to get through the days to the next, but with all the love, prayers, and support pouring into our hearts over these last few weeks we are truly grateful. Please continue to keep his spirit and memories alive everyday. And as he would say “Thank You Lord For Another Beautiful Day”.
With many thanks and love from,
(Wife) Marina Davis, and kids Candace, Alle, and Jordan
(Father) Adrian Davis, (Sisters) Debbie & Valerie and Families.

 
Letters to the Editor
December 24, 2019

To the Editor:
After reading the letter by Ms Scoles, I find myself compelled to try and put things into perspective. Ms Scoles is certainly entitled to her opinion and I respect her right to speak her mind, but there is a difference between opinion and fact. So let’s look at what she claims makes President Trump guilty of obstruction of congress. True he ordered his administration not to testify before the Impeachment committee. It’s called executive privilege and has been used by numerous presidents in the past. The latest event that triggered the use of executive privilege was the investigation of Fast & Furious. This was a government program initiated by the Obama administration to sell guns to Mexican drug cartels and track them. When a border patrol agent was killed by one of these weapons congress opened an investigation to find out what was going on. President Obama declared executive privilege and ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to refuse all requests for information. Things got so bad that congress voted to hold Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress for refusing to produce the documents subpoenaed. Should congress have voted to impeach President Obama for refusing to provide information to congress? The same thing happened during the Louise Lerner hearings. Remember she was the IRS supervisor who withheld none profit tax status to several Tea Party chapters attempting to organize. President Obama instructed the IRS not to provide information to congress. The constitution provides for three equal branches. Congress does not outrank the executive branch so there is no such thing as obstruction of congress. The congress has not identified a statute which President Trump is guilty of breaking. Unfortunately this whole Impeachment affair has been going on since the 2016 election when Democrats refused to accept that Trump had actually beaten their candidate.
David Johnson of Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
December 18, 2019

To the Editor:
Re: Martin Farrell's December 12, 2019 Editorial.
Apparently, you believe that all Democrats are subject to an “utter lust for power, complete absence of conscience, wholly incapable of truth, with no sense of humor,” not just in politics, but in all things. Even the lady who checks you out at the market, the man who repairs your car, or the priest who says your Mass? If you do, no wonder you sound so isolated and angry.
We are in a momentous time in our country. All Americans want to avoid the disruption and unknown inherent in an Impeachment. There are many risks involved, especially when the ultimate outcome is known, thanks to the recent comments by Mitch McConnell, winking and assuring us all that the president will be “vindicated.”
The president is accused of enlisting a foreign power to help him in the 2020 election, consistent with his earlier admission he would not refuse foreign election help if offered (as he did in 2016). He accuses the Democrats of an unfair process, but he insists on a “blanket immunity,” refusing to allow any of the primary sources to testify or provide documents. There is no choice; the congress must call Trump out on such unconstitutional acts, if only to prevent future presidents from using Trump’s twisted arguments.
But, bless your heart, Martin, you did make me smile (though sardonically) when you decried the terrible motives and process used in the House hearings on impeachment. You lamented that, “what goes around comes around - and it is quickly coming around now. It will take generations to recover the trust and respect that once existed between the two American parties. “
If that is true, and future politicians fail to recognize the necessity of working for the good of the country, we are lost. And it will not be laid at the feet of the Trump Impeachment. It will go at least as far back as the refusal of Mitch McConnell and the Republicans to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in the last 11 months of Obama’s term. “Let the voters decide,” was McConnell’s argument. Recently, McConnell laughingly asserted that, if a vacancy on the Court arose at any point in the next 11 months of the Trump administration, he would send a nomination to the Senate (and “let the voters decide” be damned). Such is the political virtue of Mr. McConnell and his like-minded GOPers.
If it is not possible to consider facts and fully argue them, there is no democracy. I suggest that your vilification of all Democrats is one way to ensure politics is bloodsport. I hope your holidays are peaceful and joyous. We can probably all use a little time for reflection.
Kelly Scoles, Fillmore

 
Letters to the Editor
December 4, 2019

To the Editor:
This was written by a friend of mine whose family is considered by today's politically correct standards "a minority" due to their appearance and last name. But they just consider themselves Americans without a hyphen.
"I have spent the last ten years or so listening to those who are NOT native Indian demonize the Pilgrims and the white man for every evil or catastrophe that befell the indigenous people on this continent. First off, the primary settlers welcomed the Indians into their camps. They weren't all murderers, hell bent on enslaving or taking what the locals had. Those types came later, as they often do, because they are naturally born evil, and don't usually discriminate when they practice their craft. Secondly, Things could have gone far worse, had the white Europeans remained home, and left the Indians to their own gods. After all, Europeans were far from the only powerful cultures plowing the seas in search of new lands and riches. They could have just as easily ended up victimized by feudal Japanese lords, whose justice was served at the end of a beheading sword. Ask any Chamorro, Filipino, or Chinese how their people and cultures were treated during the Japanese expansion prior to WWII. Mayan and Mexican cultures were likewise already quite a threat to some indigenous tribes in the south, as they practiced slavery and plundered whomever was weaker while seeking to expand their own influences. Let's face it; The planet was full of warring, enslaving plunderer's during that period, and they could have fallen to the followers of Allah from the Middle East, where many of those cultures still practice slavery and indebtedness that forces a particular caste to be a permanent servant.
I'm not going to defend what the evil doer's visited upon the indigenous population; nor should anyone's sacrifice be in vain. My only point is that the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock was not the cause of every native Indians' fate. In some ways, it may have even been their salvation, for history and archaeology have proven that some cultures have fared far worse on this earth at the hands of less benevolent conquerors. But the Pilgrims, once again, were a welcoming group, and they blessed Indian and settler alike. But if we are to be fair, every native Indian should be as revered as the pilgrims on this day, as they were instrumental in keeping the pilgrims alive during their learning years in the new lands."
We have traditions and a culture that deserve to be respected and preserved, because even with its flaws, the United States is kinder than most and everyone would know it if true honest history were actually taught in our schools today.
Jean McLeod of Fillmore, Ca

 
Letters to the Editor
November 27, 2017

To the Editor:
We would like to thank the Rotary Club of Fillmore for their continued support of the arts programs at Fillmore High School. Their generous donation to the upcoming April 2020 Arts show will allow us to continue putting on this event. On behalf of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Fillmore High School, thank you!
Rosalind Mitzenmacher, Visual & Performing Arts Dept. Chair of Fillmore High School

***

To the Editor:
Meet Mireya Avila Mejia, a resident of Cabrillo's Fillmore Central Station Apartments and a graduate of Fillmore High School, who was inspired to become a nurse by those caring for her mother while she was undergoing surgery and radiation for thyroid cancer.
“I want to impact someone’s life in a positive manner and help someone’s mother in the way my mother was being helped. … As I embark on my nursing journey, I plan to get a job in the Ventura County area as a Nurse Practitioner. I will most likely be working in the Ventura County Hospital in the emergency unit, but it doesn’t matter where I am as long as I am saving lives,” Mireya said.
Mireya is now attending California State University, Channel Islands, in the Master's in Nursing program with help from a Rodney Fernandez Leadership Scholarship awarded by Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation.
Mireya’s life, and the lives of other Rodney Fernandez Scholarship recipients just like her, have been changed through the generosity of donors and the work of Cabrillo, which provides scholarships to local students to help them
• Excel despite financial instability
• Follow their dreams of a better future by attending college
• Give back to their community
Students like Mireya need your support. In the coming weeks you’ll be hearing more about our scholarship recipients and the impact your gift can make. We hope you will consider a gift that will bring a brighter future to local students.
With gratitude,
Margarita H. de Escontrias,CEO, Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation
Donote Here: https://cabrilloedc.dm.networkforgood.com/emails/401823?recipient_id=yD2GY4fjc5A00SFTE2FZNg||aW5mb0BmaWxsbW9yZWdhemV0dGUuY29t#https://cabrilloedc.networkforgood.com/projects/73438-rodney-fernandez-leadership-fund

 
Letters to the Editor
November 20, 2019

To the Editor:
I’m still in a glow thinking about what a special time Veterans Day in Fillmore turned out to be. Thanks to the many who were involved in making it all come together so successfully. They should be pleased with the results of their efforts. From the Sespe Car Club who carried Vets in their cars up Central Avenue to the rousing, patriotic music at the Memorial Building, the MC, the speaker, and the Grand Marshall as well as the Lulac Club who honored individual vets with medallions I spoke to many veterans that day and the rest of the week. Without exception, they felt honored and appreciated. Thanks again to everyone who put this together.
Sincerely, Susan M Cuttriss, Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
The FUTA bargaining team will meet with FUSD on Monday, November 25th for a final mediation session. It is our hope that we will agree to a fair settlment that honors the dedication, commitment and sacrifice of every educator in Fillmore. We will be attempting to reach a Tentative Agreement for 2018-2019 school year. During mediation FUTA will walk away with a Tentative Agreement or we will be released to fact finding. Fact finding will bring Fillmore educators one step closer to a strike. We are prepared to stay as long as it takes. Let’s hope our leadership and school board are committed to settling this fairly and not drag it on any further. For the benefit of being able to move forward together, we must resolve this now.
Tammy Ferguson, FUTA President

 
Letters to the Editor
November 13, 2019

To the Editor:
We would like to thank the Women's Service Club of Fillmore for their continued support of the arts programs at Fillmore High School. Their generous donation to the upcoming April 2020 Arts show will allow us to continue putting on this event. On behalf of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Fillmore High School, thank you!
Rosalind Mitzenmacher
Visual & Performing Arts Dept. Chair
Fillmore High School

 
Letters to the Editor
November 6, 2019

To the Editor:
In your editorial of October 31, 2019, you ask how a decorated Army Lt. Col. And intelligence officer could respond to a subpoena from the House to answer questions regarding a “perfect” phone call between the president and a foreign leader, Zelenskyy, to which he was an invited listener.
If he had testified that he heard nothing that would amount to a request for foreign assistance in US political matters, you would have been fine with it. But because his truthful answers did compromise the president, to you he is no better than a thief, and had a purpose to “bring him [Trump] down.” Worse, he is in league with the “lying Liberal Left” in their malicious scam in seeking to investigate whether said president violated campaign law, abused his power, and sought and seeks to obstruct the constitutional duty and prerogatives of the House of Representatives.
You assume, and not for the first time, that if an individual of whatever stature does not agree with you and your political and social views, they are liars, operate to undermine the republic, and are in fact guilty of evil intent.
Is it possible, Martin, that you are just wrong? That Lt. Col. Vindman simply told the truth, as one under oath is required to do? Trump has surrounded himself with spineless sycophants and many persons of questionable character and little principle. Half of his cabinet has had to resign for ethics reasons. And when someone of unimpeachable character raises his hand and takes a sacred oath to tell the truth, you choose him to vilify. Amazing.
Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
It’s hard to believe I have to write another letter to the editor. I love these kids and I love this town. The school board is not listening to teachers or the community because if they were, we would not still currently be at impasse. I’m tired of speaking at board meetings where the reaction from elected officials is rolled eyes, stiff body language, and inattention. Teachers in this community would not be coming to speak if there wasn’t a real reason for it. We are not attracting or keeping the best teachers in Fillmore. In fact, our teacher of the year last year, Stacia Helmer, left the district this year.
Fillmore doesn’t attract quality new teachers. There are open math positions when almost half the year is over. Why? Because our educators the lowest paid in Ventura County based on percent of the overall budget. This has been said over and over and over. Looking at the data from the last four years we’ve hired 91 new teachers, over half the districts certificated employees, yet 73 have already left with many citing the low pay, long hours, large class sizes, and unsupportive administration. Fillmore must have competitive salaries to keep the great teachers that are left, and attract new ones to fill all of our positions. Our students deserve a qualified teacher in every classroom and not round after round of substitute teachers. Fillmore students deserve the best that we can give them and our leadership must do better.
Jennifer Beal,
31 year FUSD Educator
FUTA bargaining chair

 
Letters to the Editor
October 30, 2019

To the Editor:
We would like to thank the Lions Club of Fillmore for their continued support of the arts programs at Fillmore High School. Their generous donation to the upcoming April 2020 Arts show will allow us to continue putting on this event. On behalf of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Fillmore High School, thank you!
Rosalind Mitzenmacher, Visual & Performing Arts Dept. Chair at Fillmore High School

***
To the Editor:
HISTORIC BUILDINGS NEED REVIEW BY FILLMORE CULTURAL HERITAGE BOARD (FCHB)
The Citrus Packing House (“CPH") is just another Historic Building/Property that is not being vetted properly, that’s perturbing to historians, as well as other interested citizens!
This building is historically significant and listed in Fillmore’s Centennial History book 1888-1988, page 70-71, and the Fillmore-Piru Citrus Association History Book, 1887-1987, page 8-10. Beyond the Harvest. The historic name is Fillmore Citrus Fruit Association Packinghouse (FCFAPH).
The Fillmore Cultural Heritage/Historic Preservation program was started in I989. and unanimously approved by Fillmore City Council and 2013 Agreement was unanimously approved again. To a point, it recognizes/gives Fillmore leeway to operate/implement local regulations. This means the City of Fillmore should still network with Ventura County CHB, which serves as Fillmore Cultural Heritage Board (FCHB) for review and comments and recommendations. The CHB serves in the same capacity with other cities in the County, ie, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks.
When the City sees a project come in and it is noted it is a historic building, whether a declared landmark or a documented historic building, it should be sent to Fillmore Cultural Heritage Board for review so owner knows how to proceed and what is expected with the City of Fillmore.
However, the City of Fillmore is falling short in following its obligation to the agreement with CHB. The City has taken upon itself to be the expert on specialized historical matters and ignoring the CHB. The Cultural Heritage/Historic Preservation regulations and guidelines is a field that needs trained persons to review historic buildings. To ignore regulations does not mean they’ve gone away.
But the City has not been doing this! In fact, they hired a mitigation consultant who has admitted, (nor has the reputation as remarked by others in the field for this kind of detailed, specialized work), that he has no historic preservation training. Yet, his “expert” advice was used to determine the Faith Community Church/aka historic name: Presbyterian Church, did not have historic significance, when in fact, the value was seen/listed as such in the 1983 Fillmore Cultural Resources/Historic Survey, Appendix III.
A meeting recently between the Planning Director and 2 Cultural Heritage Board staff members to maintain better networking resulted in the CHB staffers being told “the Cultural Heritage Board was not needed” and "has to wait to be invited” for the CHB to do routine work. Then I wrote the City Manager encouraging him to follow the agreement and network with the CHB. The City Manager has never answered my letter, nor has City answered other paperwork I have sent.
So with this City attitude to press ahead and seemingly leaving out steps, explains in part the City having trouble now with a historic building = the "Citrus Packing House", when directions/guidelines could be confusing to complete requirements and with no CHB guidance. Two (2) years is a long time not to see work completion expectations culminate.
Perhaps if historic projects were called by their historic names, citizens can better understand the significance and the process. In particular, the fact that the current "CPH" historically was one of three citrus plants on 2 corners (At SW and NW corners of A St and then Sespe St.) interacting to complete the early, prominent activity at the height of citrus processing,. A convenient, efficient process succeeded with the adjacent railroad line to the south of the packinghouse and the nearby citrus grove on the now Sespe School NE corner.
Working together is the best route. Thank You!
- Kathie Briggs, Architectural Historian

***

To the Editor:
Hugs or Handshakes: a hagiography
Watching the University of Tennessee’s head football coach yank his quarterback’s facemask in frustration on primetime television got me thinking about the nature of leadership and our varsity football coach. Over the last three decades I've been involved (on and off) with Fillmore’s football program - as a ball boy and player in the 90s, as a coach in the aughts, and now as a fan in the teens. Given that proximity I feel confident saying coach Sean Miller, and what he's building here, is special. Please don't misunderstand me, my proclamation has nothing to do with wins and losses, which are, by my lights, footnotes to the larger, more pressing charge of nurturing and developing the young hearts and minds of our student athletes. It is coach Miller's commitment to this higher purpose that I wish to underscore in this letter.
“A good game", writer Mark Edmundson says, "is a simulation of life. There we get a chance to learn, to prepare ourselves and to grow, so when the real losses come, as they will, we may be half-ready for them.” While sympathetic to Edmundson’s view, I want to suggest that the quality of growth one might experience within a given simulation is largely contingent upon the quality of leadership and guidance one receives playing said game. It is precisely for that reason that I believe coach Miller to be the leader our players need. Over two seasons I've seen him use football and its concomitant methodologies of mental and physical preparation to foster cognitive and emotional growth in our students. Beyond all the regular platitudes one might expect in a letter that is, admittedly, starting to read like a hagiography – such as, his positivity is infectious, or, he really cares about his players (all of which are true by the way) – Miller's greatest quality is that he models what Eric Weinstein calls "critical feeling". Loosely defined, critical feeling is the ability to retain one’s humanity and composure under pressure. Whether his team has just scored the winning touchdown or thrown the game losing interception, coach Miller is an exemplar of compassionate equanimity. (Qualities that seem to be falling out of fashion but which I find fundamental to facilitating the fellow feeling necessary to maintain our democracy).
Consider for a moment, how the behavior exhibited by Tennessee’s coach, mentioned above, might be interpreted by players, staff, and impressionable fans. One interpretation is that to get respect leaders need to occasionally fly off the handle and physically demean subordinates. Another plausible reading: outcomes are what matter. As such, it’s okay to let my competitive spirit trump my compassion for the people I lead. There is, of course, the possibility that those who witnessed this lack of comportment read it as an example of how not to lead (given the comments section on ESPN’s message boards, however, this seems depressingly unlikely). But it strikes me that we should want more from our coaches; they are after all, by word and deed, molding tomorrow’s leaders.
Make no mistake about it, coaching is teaching, and coach Miller’s actions and words instruct. In all of my time around the game, he is the only head coach I have ever seen regularly carry equipment to and from the field. That probably sounds trivial but in my experience the distribution of labor within a football team tends to follow a strict hierarchy. As you might expect, head coaches traditionally place themselves at the top of the pyramid. (Carrying equipment is a thankless job customarily foisted upon underclassman and the so-called walking wounded who constitute the pyramid’s base). That he does it without complaint communicates profound lessons about the nature of leadership and responsibility, to his players. In this light, his coaching can be understood as an extension of his pedagogy, and football a medium through which he conveys the values and ideals our young people need to successfully navigate life after school. Take his “hugs or Handshakes” policy as another example. At the end of every game and practice, coach Miller selects a player and asks “hugs or handshakes?” to which the player determines how many handshakes or hugs each player has to give before leaving the field. Superficially, it’s a team building exercise. On a deeper level, hugs or handshakes introduces a radically unique vision of masculinity and meaning to a culture derided, often justly, for perpetuating harmful norms like aggression, homophobia, and emotional repression.
I have faith that football is a good in the world. To some degree, it made me. Subjecting myself to the crucible of games and practices put me in contact with my best and worst self, deepening my self-awareness in a way that felt weighty. That is to say, football cultivates what the Romantic poet John Keats called “negative capability”, which, in the broadest of terms, is something like the capacity to know oneself and see the humanity in others. I see this capacity manifest in coach Miller. I see it in the foundational strategies and rituals he is building the football program upon. Going into Santa Paula week (and beyond) I would ask that you keep this in mind. Because win or lose, I think we’ve found the right person for the job.
Kindest Regards,
[Editor's note: The letter's author requested to remain anonymous.]

 
Letters to the Editor
October 23, 2019

To the Editor:
In February 2019, FUTA and FUSD began negotiations for the 2018-2019 school year. As a matter of practice, our negotiations have begun and ended in the same year. Unfortunately, Fillmore Unified was unwilling to negotiate a fair settlement prior to the conclusion of the school year in June. On Tuesday, October 29th FUTA and FUSD will once again meet with a state mediator in effort to reach a fair settlement for the 2018-2019 school year. FUSD has one more opportunity to provide a settlement that begins to honor the persistence and dedication of its greatest assets, the educators of this wonderful community. I implore the school board and the leaders of Fillmore Unified to bring this conflict to an end and begin building bridges that will benefit the students we are all here to serve.
Respectfully,
Tammy Ferguson,
FUTA President

 
Letters to the Editor
October 9, 2019

To the Editor:
Re: Statement to Fillmore City Council, October 8, 2019.
I'm Bruce Johnson. I know all of you, and I think you all know who I am. I have a small shop here in Fillmore where I build musical instruments, expensive hand made bass guitars. This is a nice quiet retirement business for me. I started the business in 1990, as a part time thing, while I was working as an R & D Engineer at Disney. I had my shop in Burbank for 21 years.
I moved my business here to Fillmore 6 years ago, the fall of 2013. I was looking for a quiet shop space away from the big crowded city. I met David Storrs, who had just bought the old packing house building on Sespe. It's a fascinating old building with a long history and a huge basement that stays cool all the time. It had some mild earthquake damage that needed to be repaired, but otherwise was in great shape. David's overall plan was to clean the building up on the outside, keeping it historic looking, and rent out spaces inside for storage, for small private craftsman shops. Like me. He thought this would be the best use for this interesting old building.
David convinced me to move in, not just to have my shop here, but to help him build the place up. Bring in other craftsmen, help manage them, and turn the building into a showcase of craftsman shops and history. A centerpiece for the city. Trying to establish a theme for Fillmore. Hopefully encourage more craftsman businesses to move in here, in our empty old buildings. Build an identity for the city. We met and talked to all of you, and you all enthusiastically welcomed us and supported our plans.
So, that's what we did. David got the earthquake damage repaired and approved, got the sprinkler system certified, had the Fire Department inspect us. All the basic safety things. I moved in and got my shop operational, and started inviting my craftsman friends to move in here too. By 2016, we had about 10 small shops in and operating. We called the place the Secret Underground Laboratory and started participating in city events with open houses. Private tours of our shops for special groups. We were becoming part of the city. The local folks were surprised to find out that we were here. They thought that the old packing house was abandoned. It was fun.
Then, after four years, things ground to a crawl. The Building & Safety department stepped in and refused to approve our occupancy of the building. They stopped us from bringing in more tenants, or doing more improvements. They insisted on new levels of safety requirements and modifications, way beyond what was in the agreements when David bought the building. I won't get into the details, but it turned into a big mess. From our point of view, they just kept on piling on new issues, changing the rules, moving the goalposts. And most of the things they wanted weren't sensible or realistic. David hired Architects and Lawyers and sincerely tried to help them work it all out.
This went on for several years. For us tenants, everything was on hold. We ran our businesses and tried to be patient, hoping you guys could solve this.
Then in August, it all turned ugly. Without warning, you slapped a Red Tag on our building; locked us out of our shops. Effectively shut down our businesses and seized all of our assets. After five days of us screaming at you, you reduced us to Yellow Tag status, where you are now allowing us to work in our shops, but only in limited hours, with your permission. Because of your concerns about possible safety issues. Which you can't seem to figure out or define.
Do you have any idea how insulting and degrading this is? Deliberately punishing us, the tenants, like we were children. This is how you treat businesses? And here it is, October, and this is still going on. Why? Just to try to get us to put pressure on David in the negotiations? Did you think that stomping all over us was going to help? Whose bright idea was this? Well, it's completely backfired.
The result of all this is that you've crushed our project. David has thrown up his hands in disgust and has put the building up for sale. He doesn't want to have anything more to do with the city of Fillmore. All of us tenants have had it too. We're completely disgusted with the way you are running the city. Several tenants have already moved out in the last few weeks, and the rest are planning it. Our enthusiasm for building up this Craftsman Center and helping Fillmore is gone.
I may be the last one in the building. I'm going to stick around for a while, because moving my shop is such an enormous job, even if I had a place to go. I'm hoping a few of my Luthier buddies will stay too. We'll see what happens with the new owners of the building. Hopefully they can get some sense out of your Building & Safety department, and we can stay for a few years. But, we're going to lock the building down and keep the shops private. We're done helping the city. You crushed the dream.
Bruce Johnson

***

To the Editor:
Speaking of children, what would you do if your child constantly bullied and lied, never took responsibility for his/her own actions but instead found his exact faults in other people to deflect, didn’t keep his promises to his acquaintances, and followed neither the family nor school rules. He always demanded the prize and vilified the actual winner. He was just this miserable kid being himself. This is a child who would need professional assistance in becoming an intelligent, caring, honest and responsible adult. Unfortunately, our president is long since past childhood. He is who he is, never got the help, advice, and apparently love, that he needed. What he got was Roy Cohn. If you don't remember who he was, you can Google him.
Some people who would not stand for the conduct described in their child, or a friend, happily sign on to Trump Being Trump. This last week or so we have all seen the blatant lawlessness of this president in calling on one of our chief international rivals, dictatorial China, to trade dirt for a possible political advantage in our country. He did the same with Ukraine by dangling Congressionally authorized payments to them while he asked for "a favor, though.” He eventually came up with the story that he is trying to root out corruption worldwide, though he still insists that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election on his behalf. Increasing piles of evidence point to Trump enlisting government officials to do his bidding on this personal political quest (and one organ-grinder monkey named Rudy).
This president knows only his own interests, his own will, his own horribly tortured view of the world. Everybody is out to get him, no one has ever endured the harassment and political pain he has, all news with which he does not agree is “Fake,” if you don’t back him 100% you are the enemy, and he always has to be right. He can attack people who are disabled, are gold-star parents, are the prime ministers of countries who do not want to sell Greenland, are political enemies (until they fold up under his relentless cruelty and lies…and many of them are in the US Senate, Rubio and Cruz are two).
Is this all right with the American electorate? Are we ready to settle for this president and his scandal-plagued administration? It is really OK that he calls on (jokingly, of course) foreign countries to do political dirty work on one of our citizens and his political rival? It wasn't a joke, it isn't something to trivialize, and he’s done it more than once. The truth is, he doesn't get that it's wrong, ethically and constitutionally and he does not care.
Where are all the Congressional persons “of good will” in all this? They all took the same oath to uphold the constitution, and presumably, their mommas told them to always do the “right thing.” So far, it looks like neither of those things took. Everybody makes mistakes. The only problem is if those mistakes are not corrected. We, the People.
Kelly Scoles, Fillmore, Ca

 
Letters to the Editor
October 2, 2019

To the Editor:
Fillmore High School Drama is blessed to have the support of so many in our community, from parents to local service organizations. Once again, the Fillmore Lions Club has donated to our program, ensuring we have the funds to provide valuable equipment for our students. Every year, these donations provide so many opportunities to our actors and crew members to bring a performance to the stage. Thank you, Fillmore Lions Club!
Josh Overton
Director, Fillmore High School Drama

***

To the Editor:
We break it, we buy it. Aside from the not-so-fresh hell of recent politics, let’s not forget what many of the children under our protection, and to whom we owe the possibility of a decent future, are experiencing, and which will provide the foundation for the future.
First, families with children at the border are still being separated and some may never be reunited because of the deplorable records kept by this administration. What does Homeland Security and ICE – and what do we - think is going to become of those children and their families in the next 20 years and after? The depression, PTSD, and hopelessness that are already being recognized in children forcibly removed from their parents will only fester. We now know that PTSD in children can affect their brains at the cellular level, and so may not be subject to cure later in life. We broke it, we buy it.
Second, there may be hundreds of thousands of children who are homeless, whose parents are attempting to live a normal life along freeways, in cars, and in parks (Sacramento is a vivid example where there are signs “Watch Out for Pedestrians” along I-50 and I-80 and the signs of habitation abound). Poverty and stress are invading their lives often, again, at a cellular level. They are being left behind by the rush to riches, and by our tolerance for the corrupt abuse of democratic capitalism as demonstrated in vast economic disparity. We broke it, we buy it.
Third, children the world over have been protesting for their futures on the planet while ecosystems are collapsing due to the dark side of the Industrial Revolution, and all the while we had the means to curtail it. But it will cost money and we may be dead before climate change catastrophically alters our world. Those kids won’t. We helped break it, we ignored the warnings about it for decades, we buy it.
All of this is happening, and is largely being ignored, in our names. Do we care? In due time, there will be nowhere for any of us to hide, not even in the bushes along a highway. This generation will tell us what they think of the system and of us and they will act. They already are.
Kelly Scoles, Fillmore

***

To the Editor:
Fillmore Unified educators are tired. Tired of being placed at the mercy of a school board and administration that fails its greatest assets among our students time and time again. We have consistently stepped up to support the district during difficult times with furlough days and work with dedication to implement the vast array of programs given to us on an almost yearly basis with minimal real support, and we are tired.
We are tired of watching our health benefits shrink and our bank accounts empty, making up for the 24% loss in benefits last year, while members of our leadership and other employees enjoy over $10,000 more in district contributions for health care this year and a $900,000 savings fund created by our educators. We are exhausted, waiting for our leadership and our school board to show their appreciation and return to us what we lost.
We are tired. Tired of listening to the call of our board for full and fair funding of our schools when year after year our superintendent is awarded hefty annual raises and countless other perks, while Fillmore educators are told with exhaustive consistency that there simply isn’t enough to offer even a cost of living allotment to its most dedicated professionals.
But tired is part of our job. Day in and day out Fillmore educators cultivate learning with tireless dedication and profound passion for students. Tired might be what we do, but tireless is who we are. Fillmore educators will not settle for less than we deserve and we will be unwavering in our efforts.
Kelley Hess
Fillmore Middle School

 
Letters to the Editor
September 25, 2019

To the Editor:
Last week on Wednesday September 18, 2019, the educators of Fillmore Unified School District, voted down by 82% the tentative agreement brokered during mediation between FUSD and FUTA. Why would members would vote down a 2.5% raise? The simple answer if fairness. The superintendent over the last 2 years, has received an 11% salary increase while the educators of Fillmore have received 1.5%. 2.5% doesn’t even begin to help teachers reach parity. The District would argue they are being fiscally responsible and yet they approved an additional 6% raise for the superintendent along with other financial compensation for the same year they are offering FUTA 2.5%. The District would argue they need to be financially prudent. The facts show what FUTA is asking for is not unreasonable.
• Fact: The District projected a 6.19% increase in health benefits for 2018-2019.
• Fact: The difference in health benefits between 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 was a cost savings to the District of $742,585.00. This is equivalent to 4.15%.
• Fact: At the 2nd interim budget for 2018-2019, the savings in health benefits increased to $908, 074. This is equivalent to 5.06%.
We are not asking for a raise. We are asking to receive the compensation we lost based on estimated insurance costs that did not materialize. Over the years, the educators of FUSD have sacrificed much to help Fillmore Unified through dark times. These are not dark times. There is no pending financial crisis. It is about priorities and the educators of Fillmore are not a priority. Until teachers are made a priority, we will continue to lose quality teachers and our students will suffer the consequences.
Respectfully,
Tammy Ferguson, FUTA President

 
Letters to the Editor
September 18, 2019

To the Editor:
I’d like to tell my story as a FUSD Teacher and member of the community. I had two emergencies with two of my daughters that required me to visit the hospital. My district provides me with the lowest paid PPO. I’m grateful I have insurance, but taking both to the emergency room gave me a $500 bill for each daughter, one with a 102 fever and the other with a head injury that led to a mild concussion.
My problem is why do others in the same district I work for, not have the same healthcare plan and not have to worry about ending up with these bills. How is this a unified school district if we all are not in the same plan? Unified? I don’t think so.
As a parent, I have a great concern. We are not retaining teachers. Last year alone, we lost more teachers in this district than what was hired. Teachers are leaving to much better paying districts with better healthcare plans. I can’t blame them. I have stayed with Fillmore because I believe I need to give back to the community that shaped me. Even if I’m paying the price. The last few years, I’ve been forced to look to other offers of employment, something I never thought I’d do. It’s becoming too expensive to work in my community with the current healthcare plan, and the income we are receiving.
FUTA has asked for a fair 5% raise and better healthcare (same as others in our district) with no cap. Our District presented us with only 2.5% raise and no cap on insurance. This would be great if everyone in our district got the same raise right? This is not the case. Unified? I don’t think so.
Since being a teacher here, minimum wage has gotten a raise at a much higher and more alarming rate than our FUSD teachers. We have taken pay cuts to help our district during budget cuts. The offer given to FUTA members does not fix the problem for my children being educated in this district. We will continue to say goodbye to teachers leaving to other districts. We will continue to get the short end of the stick, while administration whom usually have about 5 year stay get the raise and the committed teachers/counselors continue to be not valued. Why do we always give money to short termed leadership? Why not invest our money in the classroom?
How will children including my daughters benefit as students in this district? Will they benefit from getting new teachers yearly? Will they benefit from teachers that don’t feel they are valued? Will they benefit from a non-unified district? Will they benefit from Leadership getting a much greater raise? 17% will never equal 2.5% This administration has been given a higher raise by percent in the last 4 years than I have gotten in my 19 years with the district. Unified? I don’t think so.
You can keep my 2.5 percent. I rather fight for what is right. Fight for retention of teachers, for the sake of the kids growing up in the same streets I bleed for, cried for and competed for all my life. 73 teachers gone in the last 4 years is not what’s best for kids. This is a pattern that needs to be corrected. Our community deserves better; our children deserve better. Unified? I don’t think so.
Jr Lomeli

 
Letters to the Editor
September 11, 2019

To the Editor:
I am absolutely shocked by your "Realities" column from September 4th (the polemic against women in the armed services). It is biologically incorrect to claim that women have "weak wrists" or are not "physically fit." Males and females of all species are on a continuum of size and strength; for humans the mid-range of physical strength and size are larger for males than females (in many species, the females are the larger and stronger), but this does NOT mean that most women who enter the armed services are less strong than most men who do so. It is ignorant -- and unfair -- to claim this as if it's a fact.
It is also NOT true that armed services around the world have never used women in combat positions before. Please consider the countries of Israel, Northern Ireland, and Russia, for example.
I also cannot believe that a person in this day and age would claim that a man couldn't handle a woman being his boss and calling the shots. How rude this is to men! I would love to point out your opinion to Margaret Thatcher, or Teresa May, or the many other women in charge of entire countries, as a start.
I request that you please retract your rude and condescending remarks immediately.
Cynthia Tuthill, PhD
Resident of St. Helena

***

To the Editor:
I am disabled. My car was parked in a disabled parking when it was towed by cited for abandoned vehicle and towed to impound. I did not receive notice until after the car was impounded. The release form cost me $115 and $495 to get my car out from impound. I was told that a disabled person cannot park over 72 hours in disabled parking. I spoke to Mike at Fillmore city hall code enforcement and was just as baffled as I.
Sincerely,
Melissa Southworth-Ramos

***

To the Editor:
As a teacher at Mountain Vista Elementary, I find it very distressing that my union, the Fillmore Unified Teachers Association, has to go to mediation with the school district on Sept 11th over what I view as mishandling of funds. At this time of year teachers should be able to focus fully on enriching the students in our classrooms - not fighting for our insurance benefits and our salaries which have stagnated at the very lowest levels in Ventura.
This is all happening while our administration has the highest salaries in the county with full benefits and no caps! I am personally being put in the position of having to worry about whether or not I will be able to financially survive if my husband has another heart surgery. I worry that if my cancer returns, I will not be able to afford my treatments because the board wants to cap teacher’s health benefits. I am also having to question why the school board, who is supposed to help balance salary and benefits for teachers and administrators, are instead, continuing to approve one salary hike after another for our superintendent, while trying to cut benefits of employees who directly serve the students of Fillmore, our teachers.
My experience with fellow teachers here in Fillmore is one of passion for serving the students of our community. Over the summer during our unpaid break, I personally witnessed many of my peers continuing to work to prepare for a successful school year. Teachers at Mountain Vista continued to meet and prepare for supporting students and their many needs. We also met to plan workshops we would present in order to meet the training needs of staff to benefit students. On Facebook, there were several posts and pictures of colleagues shopping for supplies out of their own pocketbooks. Weeks before school was in session, I saw many teachers setting up their classrooms and curriculum to ensure student success.
Teachers need “fair and equal” pay and benefits.
Susan Agostinelli
Resource Teacher, MS Sped
Mountain Vista Elementary

***

To the Editor:
FUSD issued a letter to regarding their view of negotiations this past school year. It’s disheartening that district leadership has omitted facts that as a history teacher are the base that all my lessons come from.
FUSD is trying to convince parents that a hard cap in educator health benefits is necessary to alleviate the rising cost of premiums in the future is unfounded. Our Superintendent, management, and other district personnel will have fully paid benefits without the same proposed hard cap. So why only propose a hard cap on teachers? How does this attract more good teachers to teach your kids?
Similarly, Dr. Palazuelos expressed that limiting the annual contribution to educators’ health benefits premiums will provide a “substantial” salary increase. What increase? The district’s 2.5% proposed salary increase would then equal only 4% over the last four years while Dr. Palazuelos 17% increase is substantial over that same period. Not having a real pay increase means students are the ultimate ones effected by the fact that many great teachers are leaving the district.
Finally, left out is the fact that the increase in state educators’ retirement contributions are not isolated to Fillmore educators. All Fillmore’s certificated management, (administrators) which includes, Dr. Palazuelos, have the same increases. The fact that certificated management salaries are significantly more substantial than Fillmore educators, they will have higher contributions than teachers. Truthful facts and fairness is what Fillmore educators want. Great teachers staying in Fillmore for your kids is what Fillmore educators strive for.
Jennifer Beal
FUTA Vice President

***

To the Editor:
On August 20th the Fillmore USD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Full and Fair Funding resolution requesting appropriate funding from the state. Our school district now stands alongside hundreds of other organizations across California calling on the state legislature to increase school funding to the national average by 2020. I am honored to be a part of a Board of Trustees that supports Full and Fair Funding and I am now asking for the community to join us in this work.
Putting California’s funding into perspective compared to the national average, if California increased funding per student just to the national average, a classroom of 25 students would receive an additional $61,875, as shown on the www.fullandfairfunding.org website. A school with 500 students would receive over $1,000,000 per year to spend on additional support staff, counselors, tech support, salary increases, art, music and theater programs or whatever else is determined to benefit the students.
Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, I volunteered in my children’s classrooms and participated in school parent groups for over fifteen years. As an involved Trustee I have learned firsthand how our school district operates on a every day basis to keep this large organization running and I have witnessed the efforts of the district to further public education. It is no easy task to ensure there is a balanced budget considering the many challenges before us as we work to provide students with the best possible education.
First and foremost, school districts are challenged with providing safe and secure schools. Keeping students physically and mentally safe encompasses many areas from maintaining buildings for optimal performance and long-term cost savings to the increased need in counseling, for both academic and social emotional needs. Additionally, school districts have the duty and obligation to provide students access to emotional counseling making it necessary to hire additional counselors.
School Districts are tasked with helping students with basic necessities including meals, after school care and all-day preschool. Athletic clubs and teams are available for students to learn the strengths of teamwork as well as how to strive for individual goals. These programs are beneficial and enrich the lives of our students as we help them reach their academic goals and endeavors.
State mandated testing in now completely online, forcing school districts to update computer systems and internet infrastructure in order to administer the required test. No additional ongoing funding was provided by the state for these changes. School districts must constantly explore ways to improve technology capabilities as well as hire tech support staff and train teachers on the new requirements.
The national health care crisis is affecting all industries including the education sector. With the average company paying 51% more for benefits and families paying an average of 67% more than they did ten years ago, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. We all need answers to the burdensome health insurance price hikes.
Last, but certainly not least, is the academic education school districts are charged with providing students. From preschoolers learning their colors to high school students taking Advanced Placement classes the teachers and staff work diligently to provide each student what they need to become successful members of society. Classified staff, certificated teachers and management staff all deserve our respect.
Education today is so much more than teaching reading, writing and arithmetic but sadly state funding has not increased to keep up with these needs. The many facets of the bureaucracy of public education can’t be covered in a letter but I wanted to highlight some of the challenges faced when budgeting. School districts are given a finite amount of funding from the state and must decide how to divide the funds for long term stability. I feel all these areas mentioned are important but I’m finding our representatives in Sacramento have not been willing to make educating youth a priority.
Please consider reading the Full and Fair Funding resolution at www.fullandfairfunding.org and if you agree sign the petition to encourage our state to increase spending on public education.
I’m tired of trying to figure out how to spend the leftovers sent from the state. I want education to be a priority, I want Full and Fair Funding for schools.
Respectfully,
Kelli Couse
FUSD School Board President